I wake at 4:00 a.m. in anticipation of a walk along Cottonwood Road. Although the sun rises almost an hour and a half earlier here in Walla Walla than in Austin, my current home, it’s dark. The heavy rain from the night before has ended and the sun, in its glory, rises steadily without any competition from the clouds. The shifting shadows between the valleys and the hills are majestic. The wheat is almost all golden but for a few remaining green stalks. Lavender and red poppies are bursting along side the road. The morning is solitary but for an occasional farmer in his truck driving the old country road to his fields or vineyards. This days feels like so many summer mornings with my father years ago when we’d rise early and bicycle to the tennis courts for an hour of practice and companionship. I do so miss him.
I notice the smells, the alfalfa and grasses still heavy with rain, the buzzing bees glad for warmth, the smiles on the faces of the other very early morning walkers. This place, my physical home for only a third of my life, continues an inexplicable draw. A wonderful chance to run into people I haven’t seen for forty years, missing others I’d hoped to see but changing schedules interrupted plans, lots of talks with my mother and sisters.It is time for me to leave, for my brothers to visit my mother, as we rotate taking care of her on her last journey. Good-bye for now. I will be back soon.